Soccer Almanac

American soccer writing, history & data.

SLSL 1931-32 season

Feb. 8, 2022 |  Categories:  SLSL   St. Louis  

In the summer annual meeting prior to the 1931-32 season, Winton E. Barker was re-elected president of the St. Louis Soccer League after having resigned the previous December. Phil Riley was re-elected treasurer and elected as vice president.

A.J. "Tate" Brady was also elected as secretary during that meeting but didn't stay in the office long. Soon after, John J. "Jack" Dwyer bought Tate Brady's club which had played under the Hellrung & Grimm name the prior season. Dwyer found a new sponsor for the team which was renamed Stix, Baer & Fuller after the local department store. Dwyer also hired halfback, William Lehman, as his manager. Tate Brady was out of the professional soccer game for the first time in over 20 years.

With Brady no longer a stockholder in the Soccer and Exhibition Co. of St. Louis, Thomas W. Cahill returned to St. Louis and was elected secretary of the organization. Cahill quickly announced a number of reforms in an attempt to turn around the decreasing interest in the league. The SLSL reduced ticket costs as admission was reduced from 75 to 50 cents per doubleheader at Sportsman's Park. The players began wearing numbered jerseys as was the custom in the east with rosters listed in programs distributed at each game.

The league also changed how players would be paid. The guaranteed amounts that were in effect the prior few seasons was replaced by a percentage split of gate receipts. Players of the winning team would received 65% while losers would get 35%. In the event of a draw, the split would be 50-50.

Yet another change occurred in the weeks before the opening of the season. J. Arthur "Don" Anderson, who backed teams in the Municipal League, purchased Willie Foley's monetary interests in the league. Anderson took over the team formerly named Tabler which was renamed the Andersons after him. Foley continued to manage the Ben Miller team, still owned by George Miller, as he had in prior seasons. Anderson replaced Johnny Marre as manager of his team with Tom "Bo" Palmer.

Team colors for the season saw Anderson wearing red and white, Ben Miller in their traditional green with white, Coca-Cola in white and red, and Stix, Baer & Fuller in purple and gold. The season began on Sunday, October 18, 1931. Attendance hovered near 2000 per doubleheader as it had in recent seasons but never really increased. By the end of the season, attendance was back down in the 400 to 500 range seen in the last few years. Cahill's reforms made little difference.

The 15-game league schedule ended in another tight contest. Ben Miller and Coca-Cola tied with 16 points. Stix was one point behind in third and Anderson was a close fourth with 13 points.

Even though Stix, Baer & Fuller was out of the league race, they had made it to the National Challenge Cup Western Semifinal which was held a week after the SLSL regular season ended. On Sunday, February 28, 1932 at Sportsman's Park, 2200 saw Stix edge Sparta of Chicago 1-0 to win the cup match.

The following Sunday, Stix hosted Bricklayers of Chicago in the first game of the three-game series for the NCC Western Final. Stix beat Bricklayers 3-2 at Sportsman's Park before 2000. The following Sunday, Stix, Baer & Fuller traveled to Sparta Field in Chicago. The Bricklayers won that match 2-0 before 2000 to even the series.

That same day, Ben Miller and Coca-Cola played a league title match to break the first place tie. The game had 45-minute halves instead of the traditional 35-minute halves for the league. The 400 in attendance at Sportsman's Park saw the match end 2-2 at regulation time. Two 15-minute extra periods were played with Coca-Cola scoring in extra time to win 3-2 and retain their SLSL title.

The following Sunday, March 20, Stix, Baer & Fuller beat Bricklayers 1-0 before 5000 at Sportsman's Park to win the NCC Western Final two games to one. The next Sunday Stix hosted New Bedford of the American Soccer League. A crowd of 7181 at Sportsman's Park saw an epic match which ended 3-3 at regulation. Neither team could score in the two 15-minute extra periods that followed which meant the game would be replayed the following Sunday.

On April 3, Stix, Baer & Fuller again hosted the New Bedford team at Sportsman's Park. New Bedford, formerly the Fall River F.C. and New York Yankees, had lineup of soccer superstars, including Tec White, Scotty Nilsen, Billy Gonsalves, and Bill McPherson, and the quality showed in the replay. This time the game was not close with the 7371 in attendance seeing the New Bedford club handle Stix 5-2 to win the NCC title.

©2022 by Daniel Creel. All rights reserved.